Phyllis Latour

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Phyllis Latour
Nickname(s) Genevieve
Born (1921-04-08) 8 April 1921 (age 94)
Durban, South Africa
Allegiance  United Kingdom
Service/branch WAAF, Special Operations Executive, French Resistance
Years of service 1941–1944
Rank Field agent
Commands held Scientist
Awards Member of the Order of the British Empire
Croix de Guerre (France)

Phyllis "Pippa" Latour (born 8 April 1921) MBE, was a heroine of the Special Operations Executive during the Second World War.

Early life[edit]

Latour's father, Philippe, was French and married to Louise, a British citizen living in South Africa, where Phyllis was born in 1921.

WAAF & Special Operations Executive[edit]

She moved from South Africa to England and joined the WAAF in November 1941 (Service Number 718483) as a flight mechanic for airframes—But she was immediately asked to become a spy, and went through vigorous mental and physical training. She joined the SOE in revenge for her godmother's father having been shot by the Nazis,[1] officially joining on 1 November 1943 and was commissioned as an Honorary Section Officer.

She parachuted into Orne, Normandy on 1 May 1944 to operate as part of the Scientist circuit, using the codename Genevieve to work as a wireless operator with the organiser Claude de Baissac and his sister Lisé de Baissac (the courier).[2] She worked successfully and largely avoiding detection of the Germans, she sent over 135 messages to London, remaining in France until the liberation in August 1944.

Post World War II[edit]

After World War II, Latour married an engineer with the surname Doyle, and went to live in Kenya (East Africa),[3] Fiji, and Australia.[1] She now lives in Auckland, New Zealand.[1]

Honours and awards[edit]

Latour was appointed a Chevalier of the Legion of Honour (Knight of the Legion of Honour), by the French government on 29 November 2014, as part of the 70th anniversary of the battle of Normandy.[4][5]

Order of the British Empire (Military) Ribbon.png Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)
39-45 Star BAR.svg 1939–45 Star
France and Germany Star BAR.svg France and Germany Star
Defence Medal BAR.svg Defence Medal (United Kingdom)
War Medal 39-45 BAR.svg War Medal 1939–1945
Croix de Guerre 1939-1945 ribbon.svg Croix de guerre 1939–1945 (France)
Legion Honneur Chevalier ribbon.svg Legion of Honour (France)


  1. ^ a b c Field, Michael (23 November 2014). "World War II top spy living in Auckland". Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Squadron Leader Beryl E. Escott, Mission Improbable: A salute to the RAF women of SOE in wartime France, London, Patrick Stevens Limited, 1991.
  3. ^ Liane Jones, A Quiet Courage: Women Agents in the French Resistance, London, Transworld Publishers Ltd, 1990. ISBN 0-593-01663-7
  4. ^ "WWII heroine Pippa Doyle receives France's highest honour - WAR HISTORY ONLINE". WAR HISTORY ONLINE. 
  5. ^ Daily Mail – Legion of Honour – 25 November 2014


External links[edit]